Lack of lorry drivers could jeopardise Christmas

By Laurence Gibbons contact

- Last updated on GMT

Logistics crisis? Could a shortage of drivers leave the highways empty this Christmas
Logistics crisis? Could a shortage of drivers leave the highways empty this Christmas

Related tags: Christmas

A lack of lorry drivers could jeopardise some businesses’ ability to meet increased demand over the Christmas period, according to The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

Almost all respondents (91%) to a survey of 600 employers carried out by REC said they had little or no capacity to take on extra work.

Recruiters claimed drivers were particularly hard to find as the sector is unattractive to young people, REC ceo Kevin Green claimed.

“People are put off entering the sector by the high costs of things like training and insurance with the new Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) requirements compounding the difficulties,” ​he said.

‘Immediate problem’

“With peak time for deliveries coming up in November and December, shortages are an immediate problem and one that will only get worse in the longer term.”

There are almost as many qualified drivers aged over 60 as there are under 30, he added.

“We need to see more employers offering driver training and accreditation,”​ Green claimed. The government could help by providing some pump priming funds.”

“The UK’s workforce is lean with minimal spare capacity and growing shortages of workers with the skills to fill the jobs that are currently available.​”

As employers competed more intensely in the jobs market for the skills they needed to grow there would be upward pressure on salaries in the months ahead, he added.

British logistics provider Wincanton said the shortage of drivers had become a “critical” ​issue.

“The driver shortage has been a growing concern in the industry in recent years but has become a critical issue in the last few months due in part to driver CPC training, as well as the cost and complication of licensing,”​ said Julie Welch, human resources director at Wincanton.

‘Key factor’

“The requirement for more frequent and flexible deliveries to support consumer demand alongside the growth of the UK economy and retail in particular is also a key factor.”

Despite the shortage of drivers, Wincanton said it was confident it would meet all its Christmas deadlines because of the size and scale of its business.

The firm’s md of retail, Liam McElroy, said: “Not only do we have a UK-wide general haulage fleet that we can draw upon, but we also operate across a number of sectors that have contra peaks.

“For example, construction is an industry which sees a reduction in volumes during the Christmas period and it is our usual practice to bolster our retail operation with this resource at this time of year.”

For the latest jobs in logistics and food manufacturing roles, visit the new and refreshed FoodManJobs.

Related topics: Supply Chain

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